“A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.” – Henry David Thoreau
We are so blessed to live in a region of the world that has a diverse and beautiful assortment of both flora and fauna. Even Henry David Thoreau would agree that there is nothing dry about it! Flora and fauna are words originating from Latin. Flora in Latin means goddess of the flower and Fauna refers to the goddess of fertility. Two beautiful terms to describe both the plants and animals that are indigenous to any geographical location. Many people plan entire vacations around visiting exotic locations to experience the incredible flora and fauna there. Luckily for us, we live in a region that contains some of the most amazing flora and fauna around!
With around 300 species of trees and almost 3,000 varieties of flowering plants, North Carolina is home to some amazing plant life.
The nicely moderate climate and coastal locale makes the Cape Fear area a perfect breeding ground for some gorgeous flora.
NC is home to a strange variety of plant, one that is carnivorous! The State Carnivorous Plant -the Venus Flytrap.
The region is also known for one of the oldest trees in the world! The Bald Cypress dating back to 600BC! Many can be seen st the Bluffs and along the Cape Fear River at the Bluffs.
One of the most notable flowering plants that the area is known for is of course the azalea. Every year we even celebrate it when it is in full bloom with the North Carolina Azalea Festival. You can also experience this native beauty and many more all spring and summer at Airlie Gardens. With over 100,000 blooming azaleas, it is a sight to behold! For more variety and a look at even more of the stunning flora our area offers, the New Hanover County Arboretum features 33 different gardens for your viewing pleasure!
When it comes to the local fauna, our coastal environment attracts both fresh and saltwater animals…as well as the fishermen that flock here for that reason! Lakes, ponds, streams and the Cape Fear River support freshwater and saltwater species such as Largemouth and Stiped Bass, and the Cape Fear shiner. Saltwater fish species such as Speckled Trout, Red Drum, butterfish, bluefish and black drum live in the area’s coastline waters. Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), King Mackerel, Wahoo Yellofin Tuna are just a few of the commonly found marine species living in the Atlantic Ocean waters directly off the Cape Fear area.
The same blend of salt and freshwater environments that attract different species of fish, also attracts a wide variety of birds. A few of the species drawn to the area’s wetlands are the Osprey, great egret, great blue heron and white ibis. Birds such as the yellow-rumped warbler, American robin, red-headed woodpecker and the crow settle into our area’s trees.
The biggest mammal of note in the Cape Fear region is the endangered West Indian manatee. They enjoy both the fresh and saltwater environments making our waterways the perfect home for these majestic creatures. Other mammals found in the area include white tail deer, Easter Wild Turkey, raccoons, rabbits, possums, river otters and many more. Many are homed in protected sanctuaries such as the Masonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve and Holly Shelter Game Land.